(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "A charge delivered to the Clergy of the Diocese of Fredericton in the cathedral"

%* 



* 



fHARGE: 



DELIVERED TO THE 



{SlqUS of the JSiocMq of flrederkton 



IN THE CATHEDRAL, 



CDN JjKTJESDAY, JULY 8, 1877. 



JOHN. BISHOP OF FREDERICTON 



PRINTED BY REQUEST. 



u? 

FREDERICTON, N. B.: 
H. A. CROPLEY, PRINTER, QUEEN STREET. 



1877. 



* 



* 






'■-■■ ..---'''! 






/W3 



CHARGE TO THE ClEKGl. 



My Dear Brethren: 

I must ask your indulgence for too hurriedly setting before 
you some topics of counsel and encouragement, having had little 
leisure for writing, amidst the perplexity and distraction which 
the late terrible calamity has brought upon us. 

Some portion of the work in which I have been engaged, 
on behalf of the Church, has been as follows: In the year 1874, 
I confirmed 185 persons, ordained five Priests and two Deacons, 
consecrated two Churches and one Burial-Ground, and trav- 
elled 3,458 miles. Many visits were made to different parts 
of the Diocese ; and in September, in company with the 
clerical and lay delegates chosen by our Synod, I attended, for 
the first time, the Provincial Synod of the several Dioceses of 
Canada. We were received with the greatest cordiality ; and I 
have reason to believe that our presence was considered of 
advantage to our Canadian brethren. 

Two of our little band were called away by deafh during 
this year : one, a long-tried and faithful Missionary, who, 
having resigned his parish from increase of bodily infirmity, had 
nevertheless rendered me most valuable service in the Cathedral 
during the illness of my late Sub-Dean, and had been carrying 
on the hard work of a country Mission for twenty-five years. 
The other, a student of St Augustine's College, which has 






furnished us with many faithful labourers, was cut off in the 
prime of life by an internal and most painful disorder. 

I ought not to omit that at the Provincial Synod, we were all 
cheered by the presence and animating words of my dear and 
honoured brother, the Bishop of Lichfield, who, after the Synod, 
travelled 1,500 miles in order to fulfil a promise that he would 
visit Fredericton ; and on the 4th of October preached twice 
in our Cathedral, and addressed our Sunday Scholars with such 
good effect, that of their own accord, they proposed to con- 
tribute to the education of one of the Melanesian scholars at 
Norfolk Island. Ten pounds sterling has been raised by them 
annually, for this good purpose. 

The intercession services were held as usual this year, and 
a lively interest created in the Diocese of Algoma. 

In the year 1875, I visited a large portion of the Diocese, and 

confirmed 900 persons, ordained one Priest and three Deacons, 

consecrated one Church, and travelled 2,373 miles. It is very 

satisfactory to find that in the Confirmations the number of 

those who communicate on the same day, or on the next Sunday, 

has largely increased; in many parishes nearly all communicating, 

in others the great majority; though I have still to deplore the 

existence of backward parishes, in which those who made promises 

failed to fulfil their engagements, and appeared to be totally 

ignorant of the spiritual loss they sustained. Parents are, I fear, 

greatly responsible for this neglect of duty, and seem to be much 

1 
hindered by a foolish notion, to which the Church gives no 

sanction, that it is improper to have their children confirmed before 

they are fifteen or sixteen years of age. By their delay it often 

happens, that this duty is postponed till the young people are 

easily led away by wrong impressions ; become independent and 

most difficult to be convinced; and are led to believe that they 

can receive no benefit from the ordinance, unless they can 



declare themselves converted, not after the manner of the 
Bible, but after the manner of human invention. 

Having been taken suddenly unwell before the close of this 
Visitation, I was thankful to avail myself of the services of my 
valued friend and brother, the Bishop of Maine, who promptly 
and most kindly confirmed in several country Missions for me. 

In the year 1876, I visited the North Shore and other parts 
of the Diocese, and confirmed 403 persons, ordained four Priests 
and three Deacons, consecrated two Churches and two Burial- 
Grounds, and travelled 3,261 miles. 

Early in the Summer I had the great satisfaction of receiving 
into our Church, through the kind assistance of Rev. L. A. 
Hoyt, the whole colony of Danish emigrants, two hundred in 
number; and of ordaining, after due examination, one of their 
number, who had been a school-teacher, the Rev. N. M. 
Hansen. As Mr. Hansen speaks both Danish and English, 
and read the Gospel in both languages in the Cathedral, he 
is well qualified to lead the devotions of the people in their 
own tongue, and to help those who are desirous to acquire the 
English language. I procured one hundred prayer-books, for the 
use of the settlers, in the Danish language. They have already 
begun to build a small Church, and I should feel greatly obliged, 
on their behalf, by any donations sent to me for that purpose, 
as assistance is much needed. Her Royal Highness, the Princess 
of Wales, has kindly sent a donation of twenty pounds sterling. 

This year was to me a sorrowful one, being marked by 
the death of three old and valued friends. The first, my 
dear fellow-worker in the Vineyard, four years my senior, Bishop 
of the Diocese of Newfoundland. Few Bishops have presided 
over a harder field of labour, or have worked more faithfully or 
successfully in it. He left fifty-two clergy, where he found only 
twelve; a college endowed with ,£7,500; two orphanages; a 



clergy widows' fund ; churches doubled in number ; and a Cathe- 
dral partly completed, which requires only a dignified Chancel 
to make it a very noble and striking Church. His was a mind 
of no common order. An accomplished scholar; a well-read 
theologian ; exact and punctilious in his requirements of duty, 
if stern to others, sterner to himself; playful as a child, and 
full of genial humor ; flinching from no difficulty, and ever ready 
to expose himself to the severest hardships; bountiful to the 
Church; a true friend in need and sickness, — he shortened his 
days by exposure to the storms of winter in assisting a sick 
clergyman. He died in a portion of his Diocese at present 
deprived of all Episcopal supervision, and left only one wish 
ungratified, — to be buried under the shadow of the Cathedral 
he had built, and in which he had so long ministered. 

Another friend, if less distinguished, was no less dear to me, — 
the Rev. James Ford, a brother Prebendary of Exeter Cathe- 
dral ; a ripe and elegant scholar, translator of Dante, and versed in 
Spanish and Italian literature. His practical commentary on 
Scripture is well known to the younger clergy of this Diocese 
by his liberal presents, and I was often enabled to give assistance 
in quarters when it was required, by his generosity. He died 
in Christian faith and tranquillity, in his eightieth year, at Bath. 

A third valued friend and benefactor to this Diocese, who 
assisted me in my first effort in Church building, in the year 
1 84 1, has also been called away, — W. Gibbs, Esq., of Tyntesfield. 
near Bristol. His name will long be remembered in England 
from his munificent charities ; and in 1868, I had the happiness 
of consecrating, at the request of my former Diocesan, the late 
Bishop of Exeter, the noble Church he built and endowed at 
an expense of ^28,000, in the city of Exeter. " Unto their 
assembly may my soul be united," 

** In the blest kingdoms meek of j oy and love. " 



With regard to the financial position and prospects of the 
Diocese, though we may expect this year to be a year of con- 
siderable trial and difficulty, we have reason to be encouraged, 
looking at the matter from the course of several years. I am 
informed by a Churchman who has devoted much time and 
labour to the interests of the Church, that if we allow $9,000 
as a fair estimate of contributions to the Church Society, and 
parish payments in aided parishes about the year 1868, that it 
is probable that under the Board of Home Missions, nearly $50,000 
has been raised from that time to the present, over and above 
what might have been expected under the old system : and the 
Board have been enabled to raise the average stipend, about 
$100, besides maintaining several new posts. Our inability to 
raise the stipend of the Missionaries to a more reasonable 
amount is only prevented by the backwardness of a few parishes, 
which hold back, and refuse to contribute with their brethren. 
No equitable reason can be given to shew that gentlemen, 
living in quiet country parishes, should refuse to contribute less 
in proportion to their means than their neighbors, or should 
call on those who live in town parishes to make up their 
deficiencies ; and in many cases, the subscriptions to the Church 
Society ill accord with the known wealth of the donors. Wealthy 
persons still receive aid contentedly, when they could afford to 
do without it, and should be ashamed to take it. The present 
visitation, which has consumed property by thousands, is doubt- 
less intended to remind many, that what has been irrecoverably 
lost, might have been laid up in the book of God's remem- 
brance, where none of it would have perished. 

It must not, however, be forgotten, that contributions which 
we see in print do not include the numerous instances in which 
improvements have been effected in our Churches, and loving 
gifts have been bestowed on the poor and needy. It is pleasant 



6 

also to see that whereas for many years no offerings were made 
for Missions beyond the borders of our own Province, that 
during the last year more than $2,000 was contributed through 
various channels for this good purpose, independently of what 
has been given in clothing to the inmates of the Shingwauk 
Home, and the large contributions which has been sent from 
different parts of the Province to the sufferers by the fire. 

Nor do I mention such gifts as the only, or as the chief 
tokens of spiritual life. They are only proofs of faith and love 
within the soul. But where they are wholly absent, we fear 
that the love of God has never taken root. 

The growth of sin, and the general deterioration of public 
morality in many important matters, is indeed an alarming feature 
of our times. We see indications of self-will in general dislike 
and contempt of authority, unbelief openly avowed, exceeding 
selfishness, enormous waste and needless luxury; a scarcely dis- 
avowed Universalism taints the faith of thousands ; and flagrant 
dishonesty occurs in public and in private accounts ; a general dis- 
trust is felt in large classes of the community ; in great calamities, 
multitudes resort to plunder and robbery with an eagerness 
which betrays an entire absence of all moral principle, of all 
kind and humane feelings ; a frantic desire is prevalent to hear 
the sensational, without regard to the seriousness of the speaker, 
or the truth of what is said; so that what is misnamed charity 
is sometimes no more than unbelief in any distinctive Christian 
doctrine, under the pretence that all teaching is equally good, 
or alike indifferent. Such are some of the terrible evils we have to 
encounter. But it would be unjust to society at large, and to 
Providence, not to acknowledge with thankfulness the tokens 
we daily witness of holy, reverent fear of God, humble self- 
denial, patient endurance of sickness and losses, daily charitable 
efforts to do good, purity of life, constant sobriety, honesty and 



uprightness in all the transactions of business, unswerving 
loyalty to our Church even under- the most unfavorable cir- 
cumstances, and regular attendance at the ordinances of our 
Church, with a perceptible increase of devout communicants. When 
the tares and the wheat so plainly grow side by side in the 
same field, we cannot fail to ask ourselves with fear and trem- 
bling, Has the enemy sowed those tares while we slept ? 

One unexpected trial has arisen, which, I need scarcely say, 
has filled me with great anxiety. I allude to a new sect, which 
has been formed, borrowing the name, but casting aside many 
of the doctrines of our Church, especially of those doctrines 
which concern our baptism, our communion with the Lord, our 
orders, and our discipline. In these important points, our ser- 
vices were, as you all know, settled for us by the Reformers 
of our Church, who adopted what they did not make, and 
handed down to us what has been considered and ratified by 
successive Convocations. To this Prayer-Book, as it stood in 
1662, and as it now stands unaltered, we have all set our hands, 
as in our belief, agreeable to the word of God. If it is so 
agreeable, I do not know why we should desire to alter it. The 
movement to which I allude originated, I think it is not un- 
charitable to say, in the ambition of a single Bishop, who, 
when he found that he could not crush opponents of his 
own ideas, and drive them out of the Church, put himself out 
of it. How he reckoned on carrying with him Bishops, Priests, 
and even whole Dioceses ; how grievously he was disappointed in 
the personal friends who remonstrated, and refused to follow 
him; how, even with their consent, he was at length deposed 
by the American Episcopal Church, can hardly be denied, for 
it is simply matter of history. As far as we have suffered 
from his rebuff, it has been either from cases in which Church 
discipline was set at naught, or from pre-existing dislike to the 



8 

teaching of our Church, or from some personal dislike, or from 
long-standing differences among parishioners on other than religious 
grounds. It was to be expected of you, my brethren, and I 
am grateful to you for satisfying my expectation, that you would 
give no countenance to this attempt to rend the Church. You 
have all stood firm to your recorded vows, and you have carried 
with you the most esteemed and intelligent of the laity. You 
have known that our Church is one of the most tolerant of all 
religious bodies ; and though you may have differences of in- 
terpretation on some points of faith or practice, you have wisely 
forborne to persecute or to prosecute those who differ, or em- 
bitter strife and stifle brotherly feelings by attacks on each 
other in the secular or religious newspapers. Our constant 
association as friends in Council, in Deanery meetings, at the 
Diocesan boards, in Synod, and at various times and places, 
has, I trust, under God's blessing, led us to see how many 
and how strong are our points of union, and how well we may 
bear with the infirmities of judgment in others, when we know 
how much need we have to pray for "a right judgment in all 
things " ourselves. 

I am bound, indeed, more than any other person, to thank 
you all for the courtesy, hospitality, and good feeling with which 
you have welcomed my coming amongst you, and for the un- 
varying support you have rendered me, both in the Church 
Society, and as President of the Synod. The laity also 
have given as freely and abundantly of their valuable time and 
experience, and have been as brothers to us in every good 
work. And not only in financial matters, but in giving form 
to the discipline of our Church, we owe much to their patient 
and assiduous labour. The busiest among them have often 
worked the hardest, and I hope the time will come when there will 
not be a lay man in the Diocese, who does not think it an honour 
to spend and be spent in the work of the Church. 



9 

There are many other topics on which I should have been 
desirous to offer you advice, but I must confine myself to two 
which appear to call for consideration. The first is that of a 
Mission to any particular town or parish, in order to quicken 
its spiritual life, and revive its zeal. A Mission is usually con- 
ducted by a clergyman unconnected with the parish, because it 
is supposed that a stranger can appeal more forcibly to the 
consciences of his hearers. But when a stranger thus takes pos- 
session, as it were, of the services for the time being, and is 
foremost in all public addresses, it is obvious that he ought to 
be a man of considerable experience, and of undoubted judg- 
ment and prudence. An eloquent and earnest man, who does 
not possess these qualifications, may move the affections and 
sway the emotions of his audience, but is not sure to direct 
their awakened energies into a right channel. The use of a 
Mission must be judged of, not by the excitement when the 
Missionary is present, but by the results when the excitement 
has subsided, and things have returned to their normal state. 
In such assemblies it may happen that a large number of the 
attendants are not members of our Church, nor indeed do they 
belong to any body of Christians. Their usual feeling of in- 
difference to all rather inclines them to take part in any new 
sensational proceeding. If the Missionary wishes to attract such 
persons, he may preach as if the usual congregation were 
heathens, and the Church had no root among them. He may 
entirely put out of sight every ordinary means of grace, every 
rite which does not seem equally attractive with his own dis- 
courses. Instead of taking for granted what has been done, 
and building upon the same foundation, he may speak as if 
no foundation had been laid, and simply aim at a great sen- 
sation. The results of such teaching could never be effectual; 
for when the sensation is past, there would be a strong re- 
3 



10 



action in the direction of indifference. Church doctrines and 
Church ordinances would be more unpalatable than ever, because 
they had been so ostentatiously ignored, and it had been taken 
for granted that they were of no validity whatever. As it was 
supposed that the Holy Spirit never accompanied them with 
His saving grace, and that they were lifeless forms, they would 
seem more lifeless than ever when the supposed irresistible im- 
pulse had passed away, and the effect had not been found per- 
manently useful. Thus the whole of the Christian life would 
appear to consist in a succession of leaps and bounds, and 
unregulated successes, rather than of daily and humble 
progress in continual dependence on the invisible assistance 
of the promised Spirit of God. And would not this be 
walking by sight, rather than by faith? The same observations 
apply to the services held, and even to the hymns sung. Unless 
they are in accordance with our own appointed method of in- 
struction, they will only unsettle the minds of our people, and 
will do us more harm than good. What we need is to 
strengthen the things that are " in us," even though in some 
they seem ready to die, • by binding, not by loosing, all the 
ties which connect us with the Church of God, in which his 
Holy Spirit dwells, and will dwell forever, if we seek His aid, 
and believe in His presence. 

A like caution must be given in reference to invitations to 
Holy Communion at such times. If such invitation were given 
indiscriminately, it might happen that not only the unconfirmed, 
but the unbaptized might suppose themselves to be fit partakers. 
By such admission, which would be impossible to avoid after 
a general invitation, we should oppose the practice of 
the Inspired Apostles, as well as the rules of our Church. 
We could not consistently maintain that baptism is "generally 
necessary to salvation," and especially necessary before Holy 



11 

Communion. The very word " Communion " would assume a 
new and entirely unscriptural meaning ; we could not tell people, 
as our Church orders us to do, that "none is to be admitted 
to the Holy Communion, until such time as he be confirmed, 
or be ready and desirous to be confirmed." 

Knowing, therefore, as we must know, that multitudes come 
only to hear, without reference to the truth of the speaker's 
doctrine, it must be provided, that the Missionary be a person 
of large experience, wise judgment, and well-tried loyalty to 
the Church, if we expect the result of his efforts to be per- 
manently beneficial and helpful to our ministry. Of course you 
will not understand me to mean that our services could not 
be adapted to any special exigency, abbreviated where neces- 
sary, and fitted for so important an occasion. But in all new 
movements, it is the part of Christian wisdom to control and 
regulate, as well as to quicken • and to make provision against the 
possible dangers, as well as to endeavour to secure the advan- 
tages of the situation. 

The other subject on which I desire to say a word, is the 
spiritual result we should endeavour to draw from this calamitous 
fire, and the means which may, under God, contribute to this 
result. Whilst we ought to be especially thankful for the great 
charity which has been shewn in all quarters towards the 
sufferers, this is, after all, only an alleviation of our temporal 
wants. The good effect must, under the Divine blessing, come 
from within, not from without. A general reformation, we can 
hardly, I fear, expect to witness. It seems as hopeless, as to 
"force the course of a river." But no doubt, many will be led 
to own, that God has spiritual blessings in store for them, 
under the guise of temporal evils, and will obtain from their 
sorrows lasting good. 

We wish to see a deep humiliation of soul under the mighty hand 



12 

of God. We wish men to acknowledge that it is a judgment, 
not a mere accident; in which the innocent indeed may suffer 
with the guilty, but in which we dare not fix on individuals 
as the cause of the evil, but must share with them in the effects. 
We pray that this suffering may not only lead them to rebuild their 
houses, but to improve their lives. We desire to see more plain 
living, and high thinking. We wish no longer to find young 
men and women indulging in expenses far exceeding their 
income, and in consequence, tempted to rush into wild spec- 
ulations, or dishonest dealings with their employers ; but in- 
curring no debts which they cannot afford to pay, and free 
from the kindred vices of gambling, intemperance, fraud, and 
licentiousness. Above all, we would wish to see them such 
Christians as the Apostle describes, living temples of the Holy 
Ghost, pure in conversation, honest in business, full of un- 
dissembled love, " abhorring what is evil, cleaving to what is good, 
patient towards all men, not wise in their own conceits, of the 
same mind one toward another, and overcoming evil with good." 
And when we hear the wish uttered, that the City of St. John 
may rise from her ashes grander and richer than ever, we would 
proclaim in men's ears, Righteousness is the true riches, which 
never makes to itself wings and flies away. 

It is for us, my brethren, to set an example of this Christian 
spirit ; to take care that our families be models of purity, 
simplicity, and prudence ; to live in debt to no man ; to aim 
at the highest standard of truth, — that our example may shed 
lustre on our profession, and crown an humble and laborious 
life with a peaceful, Christian, and most blessed end.